This smart speaker is like much of what Apple has done lately in the consumer hardware business. Spot an area in other consumer electronic categories of interest to make a mark, then enter. Usually delivering a competent, if muddled, step forward (often cleaned up in subsequent software enhancements) while cleaning up on category profits doing it.

Tablets, smart watches, set top boxes. Now, smart speakers.

Enter HomePod 1.0.

Apple homepod

HomePod is a few years beyond making a big splash due to more than a few lost years in development hell. Problems with Siri. Multiple acquisitions. More problems with Siri. Now, it’s finally here.

It’s designed to sound better the best sounding Sonos speaker. As for the smart speaker part

  • The Siri virtual AI assistant technology is stale and limited compared to those in Amazon Echo and Google Home, the smart speakers to beat
  • It’s artificially limited to remain in the Apple Music ecosystem
  • There is no indication or transparency if that will change or expand
  • It did not launch with AirPlay 2 after a delay out of the original 2017 launch window so two cannot be used together
  • It does not work with existing audio equipment because there is no Line-In or Optical Port

157/365 I've got a crush on you, HomePod

HomePod has more in common with the professed hobby product AppleTV than the iPad. Let me explain. AppleTV launched with ambitions to take over the living room and only recently delivered on opaque rumors of openness (apps) and limitations to existing competitors.

But dat interface.

¿Tienes un HomePod pero no sabes cómo usarlo? Estos videos de Apple te ayudarán

The cycle continues with HomePod following the way of the AppleTV rather than that of the iPad which followed in the way of the iPhone. HomePod is muddled, limited, niche, and beyond opaque about any future feature expansions via software (a la AppleTV) and like the AppleTV the prospects of dominating the category are unlikely to follow. I know that Apple says it never truly seeks to dominate a category and when it does it’s a pleasant surprise, being the gracious people, they are. Regardless, this is resurgent arrogant Apple from the late returning with iPod Hi-Fi 2.0 with the uneven strategy of AppleTV.